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Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia


January 9, 2017
Floor Statements

 Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for organizing this Special Order.

   I will be brief. There are a lot of people who want to speak. I will just speak to the jurisdiction of the Education and the Workforce Committee, on which I have the honor of serving as the ranking member.

   Mr. Speaker, as we consider appointments to the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, we shouldn't just look at people's personalities, but at what the policy implications are of their appointments. The Senate must reject those nominees who will fail to stand up to the goals and aspirations of America's children and workers.

   The first nominee I will speak to is that of Secretary of Labor, Mr. Puzder, who was the CEO of CKE Restaurants. He has spoken out many times in opposition to an increase in the minimum wage. Many States have recognized that the minimum wage is so low that people who work full time fail to make a wage that exceeds the poverty level.

   What is his position going to be on increasing the minimum wage? With overtime, are people entitled to work overtime after 40 hours?

   The regulation is in place. Will he enforce that new regulation? Or will he try to overturn the regulation that recognizes and honors the 40-hour workweek, whereby those who work more than 40 hours will get time and a half?

   If you look at CKE's retirement plan, it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of fees.

   What will his position be?

   When you look at the fiduciary rule--which requires financial advisers, when they are looking at somebody's retirement fund, to have the worker's best interest in the forefront, not their personal profits and what they can rip off from someone but to look at the worker's views as paramount--will he change that so that we can go back to the days in which people could take advantage of unsophisticated workers and sell them products that are not in their best interests?

   What are his positions going to be on enforcing Federal regulations?

   CKE Restaurants has been found in violation of many wage regulations.

   Will he vigorously enforce those?

   Those are the kinds of things that we need to look at when we look at the Secretary of Labor.

   The Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is best known for her support of vouchers. Vouchers in Michigan have shown that they fund schools that are actually worse than the average, so they have not done any good.

   Will she support public education? Or will she support the privatization of education?

   Finally, Health and Human Services: Will we privatize Medicare? Will we repeal without replacing the Affordable Care Act?

   A lot has been said about repeal and then replace later. Let me tell you, until you have seen a plan, you can just count on the repeal; there will probably never be a replace.

   What will happen to everybody if there is no plan?

   Twenty million people--maybe 30 million--will lose their insurance, and the insurance market for everybody else will be in chaos. We need to make sure that we look at this and get these decisions straight before we confirm anybody.

   All of the nominees and others should be reviewed not on their personalities, but on the policy decisions they will be making. The next generation of Americans will base their education, their jobs, and their health care on the decisions these nominees will make. The Senate should reject any of the nominees that will take us in the wrong direction.